Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's a Big Apple

As I was paying the admission fee at the Morgan Library on Friday, a bus stopped at a light in front of the museum. The woman behind the desk glanced at the bus, made a face. I said, "Is something wrong?" The question was a mistake. When I asked, she immediately launched into a huge diatribe against her health insurance company, whose ad was on the side of the bus. She went on and on, maybe for 2 or 3 minutes, which is really a long time when all you want to do is get your little pin and go see some paintings.

Afterwards, I thought, That would never happen in Paris. Holy cow, no. But oh so New York. I had a friend who told me about a man who bumped into her as he was leaving and she was entering a store. It was a hot, oppressive August day in NYC. This was back in the 70s or maybe 80s. She was a New Yorker, she told him to fuck off. He said, "Well, ya know what? FUCK YOU!" And thus they began a contest of fuck your aunt fuck your uncle, etc. etc. At some point during the exchange, my friend suddenly realized it was Paul Newman she was swearing at.

As a New Yorker, you have to save face. The exchange dwindled off. They walked away from each other. Oh my, what a New York story. Can you imagine?

What I love about New York is that the city expresses itself. The people express themselves, the animals, even the buildings talk talk talk. It is a crazy city, a fabulous city. I love New York.

I am never lost in Manhattan. I feel oriented and comfortable, even while being completely overwhelmed. It is exhilarating, the island of intoxications, as the Algonquins used to say.

I was there Friday to meet up with an old friend from my SF days and also to coincide with an old blog friend who I had yet to meet in person.

It was a beautiful summer day, hot but not too hot because of a sweet breeze. It wasn't too humid yet. It was a glorious day. The meeting with my old blog friend was gold dusted for sure. She arrived at the end of the island, I came in to Penn Station. Both of us made our way to the fabulous High Line. She walked north, I walked south. We kept texting each other, met somewhere in the middle. It was very fun and so New York. It was cinematic. New York is cinematic.

I saw a fabulous show at the Morgan, after the woman at the front desk had had her say. I tried to walk a labyrinth at Marble Collegiate Church, but it wasn't open. I walked all around the Flatiron building, taking a dozen pictures at least.

The Empire State Building looked pink in the afternoon sun. I walked over to Grand Central Station, had cocktails in an au courant bar there. Then it was back to Penn Station.

After the first book, when Dorothy wants to go to Oz, she goes into her room at a certain hour and makes a secret hand signal whereupon she's whisked off to the Emerald City. Getting on the train and going up to Manhattan for a day feels like a visit to the land of Oz. It is so vivifying!

A couple of things I brought to my blog friend. 


  1. Those shops with the three-story awnings appear to be on my old street, though I don't remember them. Of course, I lived there FIVE YEARS AGO (!). I'm glad you had so much fun. For some reason I have been resistant to going back to New York since I left the states. I think it might hurt a little bit, you know? Whereas I have no qualms about going to Florida.

    1. Yes I totally get why you resist. I thought about you all day. Can't believe it has been five years! Wow - or whoa!

  2. Your quick visit to New York has been so much fun to read about. What a vivid place. I haven't been to NYC for decades & really never have had a chance to explore it closely. I would like to go there, maybe sometime soon.